What core virtues do we want our students to embody? Gratitude, Kindness, Respect, Diligence, and Courage.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Gratitude is a core virtue of the liberal education meant to make people free. A grateful person is a free person, a person who trusts in the goodness of God, a person able to thank God regardless of circumstance. Gratitude for the ability and opportunity to learn propels students to faithfulness and excellence in their education, preparing and enabling them to persevere in difficulty and rejoice properly in success. Humility and contentment, by-products of gratitude, develop the ability to give glory where glory is due and to serve where God calls. People trained in gratitude honor God and bless their neighbors.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32).
The way we treat others reveals much about what we believe. Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit, and the fruit of kindness as manifested through words and actions reaps bountiful rewards in God’s kingdom. Christ calls His people to demonstrate loving faithfulness, which is made possible only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). To think of kindness and to be kind are two different processes; thus, kindness can only be seen in action. It must be taught and cultivated precisely because it opposes our own natural inclinations to put ourselves first. Kindness is a state of mind that continually seeks opportunities to bless others in tangible ways that bring glory to God.
Love one another in brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).
Respect is as much an attitude as it is an action aimed at the well-being of others, their property, and their whole person. Given that our fellow neighbor is made in the image of God, each person we interact with – students, faculty, staff, and parents – is treated with respect, knowing that each one is unique in purpose, personality, and position. Respect means that we each recognize and yield to the God-given authority bestowed on parents and teachers to train, equip, and shepherd each child. Respecting others is derived from the golden rule of Christianity, to do unto others what you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12) and to consider others above ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23).
The virtue of hard work is essential to any endeavor. The word diligence is taken from the Latin word meaning carefulness or attentiveness. Diligence is attending to the task at hand with intentional purpose and effort out of obedience and allegiance to God. In the school setting, diligence is not found in high grades and honors, nor is it found in putting in more time than others. Rather, diligence is doing one’s best by getting the most out of the gifts and abilities God grants. The pursuit of excellence demands both determination and perseverance as we seek to glorify the Lord in all we are called to do.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Psalm 31:24)
Courage is widely considered the virtue that bolsters all other virtues; it is often referred to as the chief of virtues. Socrates describes courage as wise endurance of the soul (Plato’s Laches). Most important, throughout Scripture, our Lord admonishes His people to pursue courage and strength as they wholly trust in Him. The courageous Christian eschews conformity, mediocrity, and fear, in favor of confidence in Christ. The fruit of this type of courage is a determination to be excellent in our work (1 Corinthians 15:58); fortitude to remain steadfast in trial, temptation, and persecution (James 1:2); and valiance in defense of the oppressed for the sake of justice (Isaiah 1:17).